No LD: My Boy of Mystery

Ace doesn’t have a learning disability.  That is the result of the psycho-educational testing I’ve been pushing for the school to do on the advice of Dr. Rock Star.

We had the IEP meeting today.  Since he doesn’t have a learning disability (ADHD is not considered a learning disability – figure that one out), he doesn’t qualify to re-enter the IEP system.  Instead we’ll be sticking with the 504 plan we currently have in place.

Both Ace’s doctors agree with the findings.  IT Guy and I agree with the findings.  The testing scores show that we have a very smart child with serious attentional issues.  The findings are actually almost identical to the initial testing results we had when he was 5.  It is nice in a way to confirm the diagnosis and know that we have been on the right track (more or less).

I am relieved he doesn’t have a learning disability . . . mostly.   I didn’t want my child to have a learning disability.  It’s just that it would have been an explanation, a reason for why things have been so difficult this year.  It would have been a name.

A lot of parents resist labels for their kids.  I saw it when I was a preschool teacher and I was often the first person to notice a problem.    I felt it myself when we first starting having difficulties with Ace.  For his first 6 months in preschool, I didn’t tell his teacher he had Sensory Integration Dysfunction because I was afraid she would “label” him and then Ace may be reduced to that label.  It was a mistake not to tell her, though.  Once I did tell her, she was so much better positioned to help him, to teach him.  It helped that Ms Maureen is an extraordinary teacher – empathetic, unendingly patient and ever giving.  Both my children (and myself) were outrageously lucky to have been taught by her.  Since Ms. Maureen, I have always started every school year by labeling Ace to his teacher and then providing all the information they need about his ADHD and DSI, as well as all the strategies we’ve learned work over the years.  These labels help them understand Ace . . . understand his strengths and weaknesses and understand his needs.

Up to this year, it seemed like we had all the necessary labels.  The ADHD and DSI seemed to explain most of his issues.  But 4th grade has been so much harder than any previous year.  He is more defiant, more angry, more socially isolated.  His grades have slipped.  He is exhausting and often exhausted.  I have no idea what is going on with him.  If the testing had revealed a learning disability, there would have  a been a name for what we’ve been going through this year.  I could have looked at it and said “Oh, there is the reason.”  I don’t know if  I can express how much I want a clear-cut reason for Ace’s issues.  If I have a clear-cut reason, then I could have a clear-cut answer.  If he had a learning disability, I would know the why and then I would know what to do next.  I would have been able to say to Dr. Rock Star “Ace doesn’t need an anti-depressant” with certainty, for example.  Without it, I’m left with “I still don’t know what’s going on or what to do about it.”  Without it, I’m still casting about searching and only finding pieces.

There are a few constants about Ace – his huge imagination, his sense of drama and his refusal to conform to any label, any type or any categorization.

Ace remains relentlessly Ace.

He remains my mystery to solve.